Salsa vs. Guacamole

Brax, Rika, chips, salsa, guacamole, competition, faceoff, Eyewire, citizen science

Here comes another snack attack! And this time HQ can’t decide between having something spicy and zesty, or cool and creamy. All we know is that we’ve got is a big bag of tortilla chips, plus their equally delicious complements of salsa and guacamole.

Which dip is your choice for your chip? This competition starts at 11 AM EDT on 7/12 and goes for 48 hours!

Your teams:


  • A linguistically complicated dip! In Spanish, salsa refers to any sort of sauce, and even for English speakers who have adopted the term, there’s still more than one kind of salsa that you might serve with chips, tacos, or burritos. For instance, you can have salsa roja (red salsa, usually involving tomatoes), salsa verde (green salsa, using tomatillos), or salsa cruda, also known as salsa fresca or pico de gallo (basically this is that delicious combination of raw tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, and cilantro!). For purposes of this chip-centric VS, let’s say we’ve got red salsa… as mild or as spicy as you like!
  • Even within specific types of salsa, there are regional variations in Mexico for how to prepare everything. With pico de gallo, one of the most common pepper varieties to use is the serrano pepper, but in certain regions (and especially in the US) you use jalapeños, while in other regions you might favor the ultra-hot habanero.
  • Besides tasting amazing, jarred salsas have a fantastic shelf life, aided by the natural preservative tendencies of their acidic ingredients. As long as you keep them chilled and covered, they can last in your fridge for months and months, even after you’ve cracked them open.


  • Like many, many aspects of Mexican cuisine, guacamole derives not only its recipe but its very name from an indigenous Nahuatl word: āhuacamōlli (from āhuacatl, “avocado,” and mōlli, “sauce”). Guacamole is by no means the only traditional Aztec food made with avocados, but it’s certainly had the most global success.
  • There are plenty of different ways to make guacamole, but if you’re short on extra flavoring agents, all you really need are some peeled and mashed avocados, plus salt. Some fairly traditional additions include onion, jalapeños, lime, and cilantro. Ingredients like tomatoes or sour cream are plentiful nowadays, but depending who you ask, they’re less authentic.
  • Unlike salsa, guacamole doesn’t keep very long, because avocados brown so quickly! However, because of those avocados, a guacamole without sour cream can be a super healthy source of various nutrients: B vitamins, vitamin K, and monounsaturated fat. Eat up!!!


  • Starting Lineup – top 3 players on each team, who earn 75% of their score in bonus points
  • All Other Players – earn 50% of their score in bonus points
  • Winning Team – 20,000 additional points
  • Each Team’s MVP – 5,000 additional points

The winning team is determined by average points per player, with 2x weight given to Starting Lineup players. To qualify for any of the above bonuses or affect the team score, players must earn a minimum baseline of 2,000 points.

Artwork by Megan Kelly